Students at Prattville High School got a harsh dose of reality Wednesday as the Alabama Beverage Control Board unveiled a new initiative to end drunk driving crashes.
Ever year nearly 5,000 underage teens die from alcohol-related car crashes, a number the ABC says it is determined to lower.
"We can say out of 1,000 in this room about 250 of you have had a drink in the last 50 days," Bryan Davis with the Prattville Police Department said. "That's sad."
The message Prattville students heard came from officials of the ABC, the state legislature and MADD, or Mothers Against Drunk Drivers. Each took time to explain the state's new awareness program, "Under Age, Under Arrest," which focuses on the dangers of underage and binge drinking teens.
Juniors and seniors got a different kind of lesson from someone who knows all too well the pain of losing a child. Taila Toone lost her nephew to a teen drunk driver.
"One minute he was here smiling, the next minute he was gone," Toone said. "There's nothing in the world that can be so painful than someone that you love so much has died."
Senior Matthew Juby attended the assembly and will always remember Toone's powerful story.
"It certainly opened our eyes," Juby said.
The ABC board is already making plans to visit other schools around the state. Studies show a lot of drinking takes place during fall near or on college campuses because of football season.
"We see it as our responsibility to do what we can to discourage this form of irresponsible drinking," said ABC chief Mac Gipson.
"You think you're invincible but you're not. Don't be dumb," Toone reminded the students in the gym.
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